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Old October 9th, 2008, 01:13 AM   #1
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Getting started in voiceovers - advice for friend?

I have a friend with an incredible voice and I am trying to get him started. He did one voiceover for me and did it perfectly. I asked him to work up some kind of rate he wants to charge so I can build it into estimates.
Can anyone here give him some solid advice on

1) how to charge for his VOs - are they by the hour? How much? Etc- I did some preliminary research but haven't found rates yet.
2) What he needs to do to be truly ready to market himself. Does he need to work with a studio? Train somewhere? How does that part of the business work?

If anyone can point him to where he can get some grounded advice, not just someone trying to sell him something, I would really appreciate it. Thanks
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Old October 9th, 2008, 03:44 AM   #2
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He need's an agent - to get an agent, he need's a voice reel. The easiest way to pick up a bit of experience and get some reasonable stuff together is to call local studios & smaller community radio stations and offer to work for free for a month (or however long it takes).

He'll learn quickly on the job and get a number of different clips together for a reel.

There are some good books on the subject, try 'the art of voice acting'. there should be weekend courses available and he should check out voice agent sites and listen to other demo reels - some of these guys will blow you away with their versatility.

I've been doing VO for some years and it's fun, but my voice is limited to a particular style of character so the work is limited. if your guy has the 'right' voice, he can do very well.
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Old October 9th, 2008, 05:22 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Kell Smith View Post
I have a friend with an incredible voice and I am trying to get him started. He did one voiceover for me and did it perfectly. I asked him to work up some kind of rate he wants to charge so I can build it into estimates.
Can anyone here give him some solid advice on

1) how to charge for his VOs - are they by the hour? How much? Etc- I did some preliminary research but haven't found rates yet.
2) What he needs to do to be truly ready to market himself. Does he need to work with a studio? Train somewhere? How does that part of the business work?

If anyone can point him to where he can get some grounded advice, not just someone trying to sell him something, I would really appreciate it. Thanks
Drop fellow DvInfo'er Ty Ford a line. He's a very active voice talent.
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Old October 12th, 2008, 03:15 PM   #4
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Thanks you guys, I'll pass this on to him. =)
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Old October 13th, 2008, 06:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kell Smith View Post
I have a friend with an incredible voice and I am trying to get him started. He did one voiceover for me and did it perfectly. I asked him to work up some kind of rate he wants to charge so I can build it into estimates.
Can anyone here give him some solid advice on

1) how to charge for his VOs - are they by the hour? How much? Etc- I did some preliminary research but haven't found rates yet.
2) What he needs to do to be truly ready to market himself. Does he need to work with a studio? Train somewhere? How does that part of the business work?

If anyone can point him to where he can get some grounded advice, not just someone trying to sell him something, I would really appreciate it. Thanks
Rates are different, depending on union/non-union work.
As far as pricing goes, my non AFTRA rates for broadcast work are based on market size.
For example... a smaller market size TV VO might bring $125, while a national VO might bring $1500. Narration pricing is based on finished minute.

As far as marketing goes, he will need a reel, "DEMO".

IMHO, the thing that makes a truly great voice talent... is not the voice!
It's the ability to take direction!
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Old October 16th, 2008, 12:14 AM   #6
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Thanks David.
Would it be okay if my friend contacts you with some questions? He is not in your market.
Thanks =)
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Old October 16th, 2008, 06:24 AM   #7
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Thanks David.
Would it be okay if my friend contacts you with some questions? He is not in your market.
Thanks =)
The whole USA is my market!


Sure he can contact me.
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Old October 16th, 2008, 06:30 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
IMHO, the thing that makes a truly great voice talent... is not the voice!
It's the ability to take direction!
how true that is!

I think it applies to to any acting - not just voice
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Old October 16th, 2008, 07:47 AM   #9
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In creating a demo, is it customary/acceptable to produce fake commercials for real products?
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Old October 16th, 2008, 11:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Kell Smith View Post
I have a friend with an incredible voice and I am trying to get him started.
SNIP
If anyone can point him to where he can get some grounded advice, not just someone trying to sell him something, I would really appreciate it. Thanks
Well, having done a couple thousand paid VO's here's a start on the advice.

#1 - you are what you do every day. If you spend 6 days digging and 1 day doing VOs - you're a LABORER, with a voice talent hobby. Your friend has to DO VO's every day. Doesn't matter if he reads the phone book aloud, he needs to practice 10-15 minutes a day. Period. No exceptions.

#2. - He needs to understand that it's harder today than it used to be. The internet means that someone can hire me from New Zealand, as easy as from the agency in my own home town. So you've GOT to be easy to work with and a pleasure to be around or they won't call you.

#3 - VO's happen in two places. The muscles of the diaphram, lungs, jaw, and tongue - and in the BRAIN of the person doing the job. The muscles can be conditioned to the point where your sound is the best it can given your physical talents, by simple practice. The brain is MUCH harder to control. The brain is where interpretation of the printed words takes place. Where you have to rapidly understand not just the words, but the context and flow that surrounds them. Finally, your brain controls the panic that naturally comes from facing half a dozen frowning producers, engineers, clients, clients wives, sandwich delivery kids and maybe the studio owners dog on the other side of the soundproof glass who, after hearing your first take, clearly decide that YOU are the WRONG TALENT. Knowing that studio rental money is burning away minute by minute, you have to face those frowns and when they say "Take Two" you cant hyperventilate, freeze, go brain dead, or do what every synapse in your head is screaming to do: run away! Nope, you have to suck it up and prove that they are wrong.

Oh, and by the way, when you do start getting calls for pro work, they always want you in the studio at 10am on a weekday, blowing your chance to hold down a REAL job unless your boss is your best friend.

Plus, the pay is mediocre at best.

Welcome to the exciting and elegant world of the professional VO talent.

(I suppose I should tell you that those of us who do it still love it in SPITE of all this. But if you're destined to make this part of your life, you just WILL. No matter what I say.)

That's actually a bit about how this really works.
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Old October 17th, 2008, 12:08 PM   #11
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Kell,

Email me at chenopup at gmail dot com - I'll give you the info for a buddy.

He's a good friend here in Utah and he's probably the busiest VO guy here. Does a lot of work in LA too.

I'm sure he'd offer some good advise. Plenty already given in this thread though.

mike
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